BIG, Outsiders and FURIA Esports each swept their Challengers Stage matches 2-0 on Wednesday to advance to the Legends Stage of the Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major in Rio de Janeiro.
The $1.25 million Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event features 24 teams — 16 from Europe, six from the Americas and two from Asia-Pacific. Eight teams were seeded straight into the second round, known as the Legends Stage. The other 16 teams are competing in the Challengers Stage for the final eight berths in the Legends Stage.
The Challenge Stage is using the Swiss system in which teams are reseeded after each round, with winners facing in “high” matches the following round, and losers advancing to “low” matches. Early rounds consist of a single map, while all elimination and advancement matches are best-of-three. The same procedures will be used in the Legends Stage, which runs from Saturday through Nov. 8.
The playoffs, which will consist of single-elimination quarterfinals, semifinals and final, are set for Nov. 10-13. All playoff matches will be best-of-three.
The winning team will earn $500,000, 4,000 BLAST Premier ranking points and automatic berths in the BLAST Premier World Final, scheduled for Dec. 14-18 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the Intel Extreme Masters Katowice 2023, set for Jan. 31-Feb. 12 in Poland.
Coupled with MOUZ and Bad News Eagles advancing a day earlier, Wednesday’s trio makes it five teams advancing to the Legends Stage with three spots remaining to be filled.
In the day’s first high match, BIG won 12 of the first 13 points against 9z Team in taking Nuke 16-4, then won Dust2 19-15, taking all four points of overtime. Germany’s Nils ‘k1to’ Gruhne paced the win with a match-high 45 kills, while countryman Florian “syrsoN” Rische posted 43 kills and a game-best plus-19 kill-death differential.
In the next match, Outsiders also rolled in the first game before hanging on in Game 2, beating Fnatic 16-1 on Overpass and 16-14 on Mirage. Russian Petr “fame” Bolyshev led all players with 46 kills for Outsiders, while his plus-17 K-D differential was third behind teammates Dzhami “Jame” Ali (plus-21) and Evgenii ‘FL1T’ Lebedev (plus-18).
FURIA had the easiest time in the day’s high matches, beating Team GamerLegion 16-9 on Vertigo and 16-11 on Inferno. Rafael “saffee” Costa’s 44 kill led the way for the all-Brazilian FURIA.
The day’s three low matches also saw all sweeps, with OG beating IHC Esports, Team Vitality topping Grayhound Gaming and Cloud9 beating Evil Geniuses.
Wednesday’s high losers and low winners will face in Round 5 — the Challengers Stage’s final round — with the winners advancing to the final open spots in the Legends Stage.
OG will face Vitality in the first match, followed by GL vs. C9 and then Fnatic vs. 9z in the finale.
Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major: Challengers Stage standings:
x-1. MOUZ, 3-0
x-1. Bad News Eagles, 3-0
x-3. Outsiders, 3-1
x-3. BIG, 3-1
x-3. FURIA Esports, 3-1
6. Team GamerLegion, 2-2
6. Fnatic, 2-2
6. OG, 2-2
9. Team Vitality, 2-2
9. 9z Team, 2-2
9. Cloud9, 2-2
e-12. Grayhound Gaming, 1-3
e-12. Evil Geniuses, 1-3
e-12. IHC Esports, 1-3
e-15. 00 Nation, 0-3
e-15. Imperial Esports, 0-3
x-Advanced to Legends Stage
Intel Extreme Masters XVII Rio Major prize pool:
1. $500,000, 4,000 BLAST Premier points
2. $170,000, 2,000 BLAST Premier points
3-4. $80,000, 1,250 BLAST Premier points
5-8. $45,000, 500 BLAST Premier points
20-22. $10,000 (Grayhound Gaming, IHC Esports)
23-24. $10,000 (Imperial Esports, 00 Nation)
–Field Level Media